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Can you read me now? February 27, 2008

Posted by eyegillian in communication, diversity, explore, language, learn, life, world.
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One of the challenges of writing is communication. Yes, really. How can I express my feeling of delight or frustration, triumph or sadness and make it compelling to a reader? It’s one thing to info drop — to include a newsy nugget, a factoid, a whisper of petty rumour — but as I reader I want more substance. Why should I stop to read this or look at that or think about this issue? I want you to care about what I care about, so communication is crucial.

The other challenge is that of words. I love words. I enjoy finding exactly the right word to express what I want to say. But I also realize that those of you who have come to English as a second (or third) language might thinkblog readability test I use too many words. So I checked out my blog reading level and found, with mixed feelings, that my writing is not particularly accessible.

So now I’m in a quandary. I believe in clear speaking, and I often rail against government documents which seem intended to obfuscate rather than to communicate. Yet I am loath to simplify my language because I need to write to please myself first, and I have enough ego to like the sound of my own voice.

Now, I suppose there are ways

sex

to make my writing

violence

more interesting

death

and draw a wider

sex

demographic of

violence

readers. Or I could try the

Brittany Spears

celebrity route by name

Harrison Ford

dropping and mentioning

Angelina Jolie

lots of juicy

Daniel Day-Lewis

gossip.

As fun as that would be, I have to admit that others are doing that job much better than I could ever imagine.

Besides, what grabs my attention isn’t fashion or fleeting stardom — I’d rather read about a new species of animal or a new idea, a technological challenge or a social solution, an analysis of a big-picture situation or a glimpse into a small but significant corner of the world. My goal is to share a bit of information along with my interest and concern and delight, so I will do whatever I can to make sure that language doesn’t get in the way.

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Related Links:
On Words and Meaning
The Limits of Clear Language

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Comments»

1. IR - February 28, 2008

You’ve brought up very legitimate questions. How do we find the balance between accessibility and expression? Or keeping specific while staying open to a wide audience? I’ve considered it in the background of my blogging, but this little tool you’ve found is making me think about it a bit more. Admittedly, I’m also checking out the reading level of other people’s blogs. hmmmm….

2. eyegillian - February 28, 2008

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, IR. I find that the challenge of being specific is really a tough one for me. My curious brain bounces all over the place, making connections between disparate things and leaving the details to other people’s imaginations… I have to keep reminding myself to stick to one main point instead of many!

3. paula - March 1, 2008

I’m glad you found me.I guess you bothered to stop to read my post as there was something compelling – well, to you anyhow. Which is exactly what you’ve outlined here, so very well. How, without SEX, VIOLENCE, BRITTANY SPEARS do we manage to convay what we believe to be important to others. It’s got me thinking. Thank you.

4. eyegillian - March 3, 2008

Thanks, Paula, for your comment. I’ve always wondered what happens when people get bored of sex and violence and the endless cycle of celebrity… well, besides drugs… I mean, what can be more exciting than that? Perhaps that’s why there’s such a renewed interest in eastern philosphy and the recognition of a need for quiet and inner peace. Because that’s the kind of mental state you need to be in to absorb some of the important things that other people need to say.

5. sandrar - September 10, 2009

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. đŸ™‚ Cheers! Sandra. R.


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